What did António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations, say “would not only be immoral, it would be suicidal” this week?
A) A unilateral invasion of the United States of America by the Mexican navy?
B) Kevin Spacey’s attempt at a career comeback?
C) Failure to combat climate change immediately?
If you said C, congratulations, you progress to the next round, which is more than can be said for international agreement on climate change at the moment.
Yes, a few days ago representatives from dozens of countries met in Poland to discuss the increasing problem of climate change. The hope is that the world’s industrialised countries can work together to drastically cut carbon emissions in order to halt, or at least slow, the rapid environmental destruction that is forecast to occur over the next few decades.
If all this news about the end of the world tends to give you a touch of anxiety, well done on paying attention. This is kind of a big deal. It’s such a big deal that South Park recently apologised for making fun of Al Gore’s film about global warming, and South Park never apologises about anything. That’s how serious this is.
But, you may find yourself wondering, what can I do to help? How can I contribute to stopping the ecocide?
When we think of environmentally destructive industries, we tend to think of coal mining and logging. We envision clouds of billowing fumes, toxic smog, seabirds covered in oil. It’s all very dramatic. What we think of less is inefficient use of electricity. We don’t lose sleep thinking about the dripping taps that waste thousands of gallons of water a year across the world. In the public perception, offices and clinics and restaurants and fashionable boutiques selling scented candles aren’t part of the problem.
Except, of course, they are. Any business can be complicit in the ongoing pollution. Veterinary practices aren’t excluded from this. Measuring resource use, improving recycling, reducing waste, engaging staff, and as a result reducing the practice’s carbon footprint and financial costs, can all help lower your practice’s impact on the environment.
If this is something you would like to get involved with, a good place to start is Investors in the Environment. Investors in the Environment is an external environmental accreditation scheme created to help businesses assess and reduce their environmental impact by implementing an environmental management system. It includes high-level audit criteria being met, and setting reduction targets, followed by an ongoing auditing process.
Aside from the satisfaction of knowing you’re helping to keep the planet in good shape, your practice can also enjoy benefits such as:
- Save money and increase profits
- Raise your corporate profile
- Increase competitiveness and market share
- Involve staff in securing operational efficiencies
Davies Veterinary Specialists (Davies) is the first veterinary practice to have achieved accreditation from Investors in the Environment (iiE). The Hertfordshire-based referral practice has been awarded Silver accreditation for ‘making an excellent start to implementing an effective environmental management system’ and for ‘positioning itself as a green leader in its sector.’ Davies is now working towards iiE’s top level Green accreditation, with a primary focus on sustainability, and plans to share experience and knowledge by providing ‘Sustainability CPD’ for referring vets.
As luck would have it, we shall be hosting a webinar with Ellie West of Davies in January. In “One practice’s journey towards environmental sustainability”, Ellie will increase your carbon literacy, explore the challenges and barriers to improving sustainability in your daily practice and find some positive solutions to implement sustainability. If you would like to join this webinar (paying members of The Webinar Vet get it for free), you can buy your seat now for just £30 + VAT.